History

Knapp House is a substantial country retreat built in the Art and Crafts style made popular by William Morris at the turn of the 20th Century.  We believe the house was built by James Norwood Stapledon whose family made their money first from shipping, then providing coal and water for ships going through the Suez Canal on their way to India and the Far East.  James was born on a ship, the Norwood, in Bombay, hence his middle name.

The house was built as a shooting lodge and you can just imagine the sort of country house weekend guests would have enjoyed as they came to Exmoor to get away from the bustle of city life.  We think it was a family home until the Second World War when Redhill School in Surrey  was evacuated here.  In the early 50's James Stapledons' son Richard turned it into a boys' boarding school and renamed it Kestrels.  We still get "old-boys" who visit and tell great tales of pine cone fights and cricket in the garden.  In the house some of the cupboards still have labels on the shelves of different birds.  These were some of the original school boarding houses.  Certainly Buzzard is apt as they swoop across the fields and regularly sit for hours on the fence posts bordering the paddock.  The original school bell still hangs in the hall of the house.

If you have any memories of being at school here or information about the Stapledon family then we would love  to hear from you.  We are hoping to organise a school reunion weekend later in the year so if you are interested then just get in touch.

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Lovely lodge in the most beautiful surroundings. An excellent stay from start to finish.

Thomas & Joanna, Kent
Woodpecker Loft

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